Dinophiliformia early neurogenesis suggests the evolution of conservative neural structures across the Annelida phylogenetic tree

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Despite the increasing data concerning the structure of the adult nervous system in various Lophotrochozoa groups, the early events during the neurogenesis of rare and unique groups need clarification. Annelida are a diverse clade of Lophotrochozoa, and their representatives demonstrate a variety of body plans, lifestyles, and life cycles. Comparative data about the early development are available for Errantia, Sedentaria, Sipuncula, and Palaeoannelida; however, our knowledge of Dinophiliformia is currently scarce. Representatives of Dinophiliformia are small interstitial worms combining unique morphological features of different Lophotrochozoan taxa and expressing paedomorphic traits. We describe in detail the early neurogenesis of two related species: Dimorphilus gyrociliatus and Dinophilus vorticoides , from the appearance of first nerve cells until the formation of an adult body plan. In both species, the first cells were detected at the anterior and posterior regions at the early trochophore stage and demonstrated positive reactions with pan-neuronal marker anti-acetylated tubulin only. Long fibers of early cells grow towards each other and form longitudinal bundles along which differentiating neurons later appear and send their processes. We propose that these early cells serve as pioneer neurons, forming a layout of the adult nervous system. The early anterior cell of D. vorticoides is transient and present during the short embryonic period, while early anterior and posterior cells in D. gyrociliatus are maintained throughout the whole lifespan of the species. During development, the growing processes of early cells form compact brain neuropile, paired ventral and lateral longitudinal bundles; unpaired medial longitudinal bundle; and commissures in the ventral hyposphere. Specific 5-HT- and FMRFa-immunopositive neurons differentiate adjacent to the ventral bundles and brain neuropile in the middle trochophore and late trochophore stages, i.e . after the main structures of the nervous system have already been established. Processes of 5-HT- and FMRFa-positive cells constitute a small proportion of the tubulin-immunopositive brain neuropile, ventral cords, and commissures in all developmental stages. No 5-HT- and FMRFa-positive cells similar to apical sensory cells of other Lophotrochozoa were detected. We conclude that: (i) like in Errantia and Sedentaria, Dinophiliformia neurogenesis starts from the peripheral cells, whose processes prefigure the forming adult nervous system, (ii) Dinophiliformia early cells are negative to 5-HT and FMRFa antibodies like Sedentaria pioneer cells.

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